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Agent Diary: ‘I’m not keen to take bookings for the weeks ahead’

‘We have to make ends meet as we await the post-pandemic boom’ says Thompson Travel owner Sharon Thompson.

I’m standing here in the queue for my second dose of the vaccine as I write this article.

There appears to be a lot fewer people waiting in line than the first time, and the average age seems to be lower, which all feels like good news.

I had my first taste of normal life last week when my son had the wedding he wanted. This, of course, was risk-assessed and in line with all the restrictions on gatherings (in this church, we were allowed a maximum of 50 guests at the wedding).

“I had my first taste of normal life last week when my son had the wedding he wanted. This, of course, was risk-assessed and in line with all the restrictions on gatherings.”

Other than wearing a mask in church, everything was basically just as it would have been before.

Yet some things amaze me. The government insists on implementing confusing rules that force you to sit two rows apart in church, and to wear a mask to sing hymns, but then allows you to sit around a table at the venue where hugs seemed the accepted practice and laughter filled the room.

Que sera sera…

Confusing times

Confusion is the name of the game at the moment. And for our industry, this is particularly pertinent right now after last week’s news on the reduced green list.

As an independent travel agent, my feelings have ranged between giving up because of the complete and utter lack of support for us from governments, to digging in and never giving up on the job I have loved for half of my life.

“A trickle of year‑end and 2022 bookings have been rolling in, which makes us feel like we at least have customers who are looking to the future, as we are.”

On the plus side, the sun is shining here at home. That is giving people hope.

I’m not that keen on taking bookings for overseas travel for the weeks ahead, but a trickle of year‑end and 2022 bookings have been rolling in, which makes us feel like we at least have customers who are looking to the future, as we are.

As my business year-end has already passed, in March, I’m now looking towards Abta and Atol licence renewals and for those bodies to show an understanding of the current trading situation.

Industry action

It’s also great to see a bit of cross‑industry action being taken by our industry in the latter part of June. It has all been a bit disjointed until recently but hopefully a consolidated approach will recognise and show that we are all cogs in the same wheel.

“Hopefully the government will finally start to understand that if it is going to effectively close an entire industry, it needs to give something in return to support otherwise‑successful businesses.”

I have been told by those that I’ve happened to come across in the last few weeks that the travel industry will boom when this pandemic is over. That’s all well and good, but we have to make ends meet in the meantime as we await the boom.

Support needed

Hopefully, now the government has tightened its handbrake on international travel, it will finally start to understand that if it is going to effectively close an entire industry, it needs to give something in return to support otherwise‑successful businesses through another lost summer.

Keep persevering.


Sharon Thompson son wedding

I vow to see this through

There is always something to smile about. My son Jason’s wedding took place at the third attempt, after a couple of setbacks due to Covid. His determination and love for his now wife Wendy were enough to see it happen despite a fire at his church, the videographer getting the date wrong, the make-up artist being sick and a host of other problems, as well as the limits to numbers. But true love prevailed.

Hopefully my determination and love of travel will be just as great to see me through!

Huge congratulations to the happy couple.

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